Academic Allison Glazebrook to speak on working women in classical Athens


The Canadian Embassy in Athens has put together a special event to mark International Women’s Day, which was celebrated last Friday, inviting distinguished academic Allison Glazebrook to deliver three lectures in the Greek capital Thursday and Friday.

A professor of classics at Brock University, Ontario, Glazebrook will speak on the subject of working women in classical Athens, shedding light on the impact of prostitution on the role of women in the birthplace of democracy.

This is by no means Glazebrook’s first visit to the city, as she spent a year as a regular member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens as a graduate student. Before joining Brock in 2003, she taught at Stanford University in California, while her recent research has been focused on Greek social and cultural history, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality, as well as the subject of slavery.

“Much of my research has been on the image of the Athenian prostitute, concentrating on how male discourse constructs and manipulates the image of the prostitute in such contexts as the law courts and the symposium,” Glazebrook says on Brock’s website.

“In part, my work is a reaction to scholarship that idealizes the ancient hetaira (sexual companion, regularly translated as courtesan), and attempts to look at how prostitution affected the lives of women across ancient Athenian society.”

The academic explores her topics by analyzing and interpreting information from written documents, vase paintings and archaeological data, while part of her research is also dedicated to the subject of prostitutes as slaves.

Many of the findings of this research are contained in the 2011 book “Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE to 200 CE,” co-authored with Madeleine M. Henry and published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and Glazebrook’s Athens lectures will draw from this.

The academic will discuss how prostitution in classical Greece affected the economy, urban development and other areas of social, political, economic and cultural life.

Glazebrook will begin her lecture series at Deree, the American College of Greece on Thursday. Titled “From Healers to Sex Traffickers,” the talk will start at 1.40 p.m. Later in the day she will speak on “Female Labor in Classical Athens” at the Acropolis Museum, starting at 6.30 p.m.

Friday’s lecture is titled “Putting Her in Her Place: Sex Laborers and Wives in Ancient Greek Oratory.” It will take place at the University of Athens’s Department of Political Science, starting at 6 p.m.

If you are interested in attending the lectures, email [email protected] or call the Canadian Embassy at 210.727.3400.